• The Breakdown of Higher Education

  • How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done
  • By: John M. Ellis
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Categories: Education & Learning
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A series of near-riots on campuses aimed at silencing guest speakers has exposed the fact that our universities are no longer devoted to the free exchange of ideas in pursuit of truth. But this hostility to free speech is only a symptom of a deeper problem, writes John Ellis. Having watched the deterioration of academia up close for the past 50 years, Ellis locates the core of the problem in a change in the composition of the faculty during this time, from mildly left-leaning to almost exclusively leftist. He explains how astonishing historical luck led to the success of a plan first devised by a small group of activists to use college campuses to promote radical politics, and why laws and regulations designed to prevent the politicizing of higher education proved insufficient. 

Ellis shows that political motivation is always destructive of higher learning. Even science and technology departments are not immune. The corruption of universities by radical politics also does wider damage: to primary and secondary education, to race relations, to preparation for the workplace, and to the political and social fabric of the nation. Commonly suggested remedies - new free-speech rules, or enforced right-of-center appointments - will fail because they don’t touch the core problem, a controlling faculty majority of political activists with no real interest in scholarship. This book proposes more drastic and effective reform measures. The first step is for Americans to recognize that vast sums of public money intended for education are being diverted to a political agenda, and to demand that this fraud be stopped.

©2020 by John M. Ellis (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

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It’s not for everyone, but I enjoyed it

Let me start by saying this book is not for everyone. It’s rather politically charged and accusatory and reads a bit like a conspiracy theory piece at times. However, I must say I still really enjoyed it, and here’s why. The book looks into how college campuses, over the past several decades, have become, at least to a non-negligible degree, intolerant places where radical ideas flourish and free speech is suppressed. As the title suggests, author John Ellis breaks down exactly how and when this shift took place. The reason I say this one is rather accusatory is that the author uses the term “radical left” (referring to the political group) quite a bit. I’m not saying he’s wrong to use that term, just that it will likely alienate anyone on the left who might want to read such a book. Oh well, I guess he knows his audience and is sticking to it. Why I liked this book, however, was because I’ve seen society become less tolerant and less willing to support free speech over the last decade, and I’m not a big fan of either of those things. Personally, I wish we’d all “live and let live” and stop getting offended over everything under the sun. But, I digress. Though I obviously can’t know for sure if everything Ellis talks about in this one is completely factual, he makes good arguments as to why it is. At the very least, and as Ellis suggests, we should take the arguments he makes, research them, and have dispassionate discourse about them. Employing such a rational process is the only reliable way to find out if what anyone is putting forth is correct or not. It’s also a powerful way to make progress on difficult issues, and it’s exactly what academia used to be best known for. Unfortunately, it now tends to dogmatically hold onto certain perspectives on sensitive topics because it’s afraid of offending. That’s a disservice to us all, in my opinion. Ellis’ return to facts, reason, debate, and research, despite coming off as angry at times, is what makes this one so good. It’s also what helps bring to light many of the issues plaguing our campuses and society right now. If you’re politically moderate or on the right, you will likely enjoy this book. If you’re on the left, I would be a bit more cautious before picking it up, as this one could very well offend you. I consider myself moderate, and even I got a little tired of hearing the term “radical left” over and over. But that didn’t spoil this one for me, at large — I still really enjoyed it. -Brian Sachetta Author of “Get Out of Your Head”